Turtle hospital hope
A TURTLE hospital in the Burdekin could be vital to saving hundreds of aquatic lives as a local indigenous group looks to do its part to keep the Great Barrier Reef strong.
The Gudjuda Indigenous Skills Centre is looking to build a turtle hospital and rehabilitation centre at the old Home Hill Showgrounds site.
The group is looking to renovate an old structure, that was once used to give locals liquid courage, into a fully functional marine haven with plans to build two tanks within.
Gudjuda Indigenous Skills Centre manager Eddie Smallwood said he was eager for the turtle hospital to come to fruition.
“In the new financial year we’re looking to establish our own rehabilitation centre here in the Burdekin,” he said.
“I’ve got some sponsors on board and once we get it up and running, we’ll want the local people to assist too.
“The turtle hospital, or rehabilitation centre, is important for the area; we more or less get called out all the time when there are injured turtles or marine life and sometimes there’s not enough time to travel to Townsville.
“Townsville gets overloaded, so the potential is there to save an unlimited number of animals.
“All the different animals and turtles that need assistance go to Townsville because of the Reef HQ or James Cook University, so we work well with JCU and we want to make sure we put our rehabilitation centre into use to assist them.”
He said it was vital to have a rehabilitation centre in the area.
“Abbot Point will be developed in the future and we have a long time to look at how we’re going to look after marine species, whether it’s turtles, dolphins or any other marine life,” he said.
“We actually have to start doing research because in 20 to 50 years’ time, we want there to be turtles and other marine life left.
“By having a rehabilitation centre here, we’ll be looking to have some local vets come on board.”
There were 12 stranded turtles from January- March in Townsville region.